And Just Like That… review: It tries its best, but is seriously missing the Samantha spark

Be warned that this article contains spoilers.

Yes, we've been eagerly counting down the days for the premiere of And Just Like That… like any Sex and the City fan, but we’d be lying if we said our excitement and anticipation didn’t come with a small dose of dread.

Whenever an institution like Sex and the City is revisited, there's always the worry that it simply won't measure up to the magnificence of the original. Lest we forget the second movie? Just Abu Dhabi don’t go there.

So, when it was confirmed that Kim Cattrallwould not be returning as everyone's favourite publicist Samantha Jones, it felt as though all those fears would be realised.

Like most Sex and the City addicts, when we heard the news we thought, "How on earth is that going to work?" But like any die hard fan, we had faith. We wanted to see the bright side and soothed our panic by telling ourselves that it would all be fine.

And therein lies the problem with And Just Like That…. It's fine, but it doesn't pack the punch (or even punchlines) that we've come to associate with the HBO hit.

The show has tried its best, but it’s missing the Samantha spark. Let’s face it, Sam put the “sex” in Sex and the City. Her relationships, her power and her personality were a vehicle for so much of the show’s pizzaz.

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Her absence is sorely felt and we knew it would be. So did the writers, who made sure to address the missing “fourth musketeer” within the first minute.

Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon) go on to reveal more in the following scenes, explaining that Samantha fled to the UK after Carrie dropped her as her publicist.

Although we’re happy they haven’t killed Sam off, this explanation just doesn’t sit right with us. Sam, the woman who spoon-fed Carrie breakfast while she got over being jilted, decided to abandon her three best friends because she lost a client – we don’t buy it.

As much as we adore Sex and the City – and we do adore it! – no one can deny that the original series was problematic in its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and severe lack of ethnic diversity.

Understandably, the masterminds behind the show wanted to prove at every turn that they weren’t that culturally tone deaf anymore, but it all feels too contrived.

We’re thrilled to see that the cast boasts better representation and glad that the show seems to want to address topics such as gender identity and intersectionality. It’s just all a bit heavy handed and feels more self-serving than it does redemptive.

There’s also a clunkiness to And Just Like That…’s first episode that we’re hoping will cool off now that the scene has been set.

We understand that there’s a lot to catch up on since the series wrapped in 2004, but the soundbites of info that have been shoehorned in penetrate the conversations in a way that reminds you you're sat on your sofa, watching a TV show you used to love when all you really want is to escape into the dizzying world of your favourite Manhattanites.

Saying all that, And Just Like That… is a far cry from a disaster. We all had high expectations and therefore we're going to be critical.

Now that the scene has been set, we're excited to see where our girls go. What will Miranda learn from her new lecturer? Will Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) accept Rose as the dress-avoiding skater girl she is? And how will Carrie cope with the death of Mr Big (Chris North)? No, we're still not over it either…

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